Bring On the Red,
White and Blue
Retailers make the most of their made in the USA sections by recognizing trends,
stocking wisely and sharing the value of shopping locally with their customers.
BY WENDY BEDWELL-WILSON
Sourced in the USA, manu- factured in the USA, distrib- uted and sold in the USA:
The made in America movement
has taken hold, and it shows no
signs of letting go.
Nearly a decade ago, following reports from the U.S. Food
and Drug Administration in 2007
that melamine-tainted pet food
made with ingredients from China was sickening and killing dogs
and cats, consumers began to
question the origins, manufacturing and safety of their pets’ food,
treats and even toys. They started
seeking out products grown and
made in their own backyard.
“After those recalls, customers—pet parents—wanted
to know what they’re feeding
their family member,” said Jai-
Consumers are paying closer attention to where toys are made due to the fact that pets put them in their mouths, and some perceive
U.S.-made toys as safer.
NEW PRODUCTS IN THE
Patriotic pet owners want made in the USA merchandise, and they’re clamoring for
treats and toys, said Jaime Rowe, president of Ello Pet Supply, a national distributor of
U.S.-made products based in Littleton, Colo. Those two product categories have enjoyed
the most traction in the U.S.-made segment, she said.
Limited ingredient treats and dehydrated or freeze-dried food toppers offer nutritional boosts while adding flavor—and retailers keep asking for more, Rowe said.
“The big hot trend right now is treats, for sure, and not just any old treat,” she
said. “It’s treats with very limited ingredients and very few or natural preservatives in
it. We’ve gotten so many requests for different kinds of treats, and soft treats, too, that
have good ingredients.”
Glenn Novotny, vice president of sales and marketing for Emerald Pet Products in
Walnut Creek, Calif., said his company recently launched a line of USA-sourced and
-manufactured grain-free dental chews for dogs called Fresh Smileezz.
“There was a need in the market for a dog dental chew that utilizes a higher-quality
protein base while also working from the inside out by eliminating bad breath that
comes from the stomach and scraping tartar and plaque from the teeth,” he said.
Kelly Ison, president and CEO of Einstein Pets in Sarasota, Fla., said her company
will release a new one-calorie treat just in time for SuperZoo in Las Vegas in August.
“It’s a dessert treat,” she said, “similar to a black and white.”
Retailer Holly Allen, whose shop Dee-O-Gee, which has two locations in Bozeman,
Mont., specializes in Montana- and USA-made products, said there’s no shortage of
delicious domestically made treats and diets for dogs and cats—and it’s a good thing,
because she sells a lot of them.
“You can definitely find a plethora of made in the USA edible products,” she said. “The
U.S. has so many premium, high-quality foods that there’s no reason to source elsewhere.”
Rowe said she recently added a new line of domestically sourced, organic super-
food meal toppers to her catalog. Manufactured by Natura Petz Organics, the tasty
formulations are designed to support various aspects of a pet’s health.
“As our dogs are aging, and as pet parents, we’re looking at how to make our dogs
happier and healthier and live longer, so that has been a big focus,” she said. “We’re
bringing in a lot more supplement lines.”
U.S.-made toys remain a stellar seller, Rowe said. The trouble with them, though,
can be price.
“Toys are very hot right now,” she said. “My reps are always asking, ‘What toys do you
have? We need more toys!’ The U.S.-made toys are pretty simple because we have to work
with labor costs, which are going to be higher than in other countries. You need to pay
about 10 to 15 percent over the regular price, so you can’t price yourself out of the market.”
Despite the slight bump in price, made in the USA toys have a loyal following. Allen
stocks full lines of West Paw Design, Planet Dog and WO Design, all of which are USA
sourced and manufactured.
“The molded, tougher toys tend to be USA sourced,” she said. “It’s harder to find
plush toys in the U.S. But I love West Paw’s new Wox. I’m also partial to WO Design’s
Disc because it’s a throw and a tug toy, so you get that interactive and active dog play.
And I like the new Dublin Dog Bobb; it’s fun.”
The newest toys in Rowe’s catalog come from True Dogs LLC, maker of the SodaPup brand.
“It’s the company’s newest line of rubber toy products,” she said. “Some are shaped
like rocket pops, beer bottles and cans, and they’re tug toys and retrieving toys—all
made in the U.S.”
Whether they’re buying treats, food or toys, customers at Dogs & Cats Rule have
“more trust in those products made in the USA,” said George Parente, owner of Dogs &
Cats Rule, which has stores in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. “They’re more comfortable
because most everything else comes from overseas.”
Red, White and Blue,